Western Washington Linguistics Program


Linguistics, the science of language, is an interdisciplinary field which relates to the diversity of the cultures and languages of the world. It is an integral part of most serious pursuits dealing with aspects of language study and/or analysis. As the boundaries of the world change, an understanding of individual languages and cultures becomes increasingly more important. Communication in this complex society requires knowledge of the workings of languages as well as their interrelationship with their respective cultures. All linguistics majors are expected to acquire a rudimentary knowledge of the functions of language at various levels and knowledge of the techniques/methods used in language analysis. A student of linguistics will thereby significantly advance his/her appreciation of linguistic and cultural diversity.

What our graduates are saying.... Lisa Brisbois, Outstanding Graduate, 2014 “Since graduating with my linguistics degree from WWU, I have been able to explore language in a variety of contexts.  From teaching English in Western’s IEP program to mentoring TESOL students as they complete their certifications here on campus, I have been able to delve into Second Language Acquisition in very interesting ways.  In graduate school, I focused my research in Second Language Acquisition.  Additionally, I have been fortunate enough to continue to explore the Spokane Salish language at the cultural level, which has reawakened my thirst for learning more about Salish languages.” Lauren Gage, Outstanding Graduate, 2015 “Certainly my experiences being a linguistics tutor and getting as involved as I could in all things linguistic that Western had to offer really helped me to develop my leadership skills in language-based environments and beyond! I was lucky to be able to take an NLP class, as it proved instrumental in getting me into my Master's and my first real job. Even though I couldn't code, having the exposure and gaining some understanding of how linguistics can play a role in advancing technology has been a huge benefit to post-Western life.  The breadth of the curriculum also gave me a lot of options in terms of a next degree.” Neal Digre, Outstanding Graduate, 2016 “I honestly cannot see myself where I am, or especially where I am going, without the strong academic foundation, personal strengths and connections, and love of languages that I developed as a member of Western's Linguistics Program. Learning how to approach problems, design experiments, analyze hypotheses rigorously, and explain results clearly are all skills that I acquired as a linguistics student at Western and have helped me succeed in a master's degree in Informatics at the University of Edinburgh.”

Quote from Student: "It's the best possible combination of fields - math, cognitive science, formal logic, anthropology, etc. It's impossible to get bored and there's always something to learn."

Mission Statement